Posts Tagged ‘trajectory’

The Physics of the Knuckleball

June 20th, 2012 06:55 admin View Comments


snoop.daub writes “R.A. Dickey, pitcher for the New York Mets, has been in the news this week after two dominant pitching performances in a row, holding opponents to one hit in each of the games for the first time since Dave Stieb did it in 1988. He has taken over as the league’s only knuckleball pitcher after Tim Wakefield retired last season. But just what is it about the knuckleball that makes it hard to hit? Conventional wisdom has it that the lack of spin on the knuckleball causes it to move in completely unpredictable ways, even changing directions in mid-flight. In the last few years, there has been a lot of good science done to understand baseball pitch trajectories, and a few months ago Prof. Alan M. Nathan showed that knuckleballs aren’t really so different from other pitches. It turns out that the same 9-parameter equation that can be used to describe other pitch trajectories applies just as well to the knuckleball. The difference appears to be that, like in a chaotic system, knuckleballs depend sensitively on the initial conditions, so that small changes can cause randomly different forces at the start of the pitch which determine the resultant trajectory. Much of this and similar work depends on the Pitchf/x tool, which has recorded the complete trajectory, spin angle and spin rate of every MLB pitch since 2007! Baseball really does have the best sports stats geeks.”

Source: The Physics of the Knuckleball

Angry Birds and Parabolic Instinct In Humans

January 17th, 2011 01:25 admin View Comments

Frankie70 writes “Matt Ridley writes about Angry Birds, an iPhone game (later ported to other platforms) which has sold more than 12 million copies. The spectacular trajectory of the game, from obscure Finnish iPhone app to global ubiquity — there are board games, maybe even movies in the works — is probably inexplicable. Ridley wonders if there is an evolutionary aspect to its allure. There is something much more satisfactory about an object tracing a parabolic ballistic trajectory through space towards its target than either following a straight line or propelling itself.”

Source: Angry Birds and Parabolic Instinct In Humans

The Brutal Decline Of Yahoo Is Now An Infographic

November 11th, 2010 11:52 admin View Comments

In light of today’s rumored 20% Yahoo staff layoffs, this infographic representation of the portal’s death spiral is as painful as the comments we are inevitably going to get for posting it.

And while much cruder than and not as philosophical as Paul Graham’s must-read essay “What Happened to Yahoo!,” it does get the point across. For those of you too busy to scan through either, Graham’s post pretty much sums Yahoo’s trajectory in this one sentence,“But there are worse things than seeming irresponsible. Losing, for example.”

Image: Scores

Source: The Brutal Decline Of Yahoo Is Now An Infographic

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Appears As UFO In Australia

June 5th, 2010 06:21 admin View Comments

RobHart writes “ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) has reported extensively on a bright spiraling light that was seen in Eastern Australia just before dawn. They have just broadcast a report from an Australian astronomer who has suggested that the light was probably the successful Falcon 9 launch, which would have been over Australia at that time on its launch trajectory.”

Source: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Appears As UFO In Australia